Monthly Archives: April 2016

Hi everyone, 皆さん、こんにちは。

My Japanese classes/lessons included practices to develop skills of speaking, reading, listening, writing (including weekly essays on a variety of topics for Intermediate 2 and Pre-Intermediate 1), interacting and constructing/performing students’ own dialogues by pairs/groups or by oneself. The learning includes the language and cultural skills used in travelling in Japan and general understanding on Japanese culture. Speaking practice sometimes used the pictures, concepts or topics from the brochures of the Japan National Tourism Organizations, Japanese newspapers, its ads, Nichigo Press, articles in Japanese from Nichigojapanese course Press (e.g. Japanese children’s essays in Japanese, for reading practice, Senryuu poems that are in humorous in traditional poetry style in Japanese), a monthly Japanese magazine, Japaralia (esp. Japanese articles written by Kaoru Sato (Psychotherapist/Counsellor) for Intermediate level classes and students and Daily Telegraph (e.g. a travel magazine, “Escape”) for sentence/dialogue making/speaking.

My Beginners 1 has finished the course last week that used Training Material (Japanese) of SLS and other reference materials for vocab., grammar/many sentences making, dialogue constructions esp. for survival language and travel Japanese, and culture learning.

As for my other group lessons, Pre-Intermediate 1 is currently with Genki Bk 1, the start of Unit 5 (+ part of its Workbook for each Unit). They have other materials to work with for more sentences and discourse making that include reading in class and homework.

Intermediate 2 is studying with Japanese for Busy People, Bk 2, its Lesson 5. Similar to above Pre-Intermediate 1, they have additional practice for speaking, reading and writing in class and through homework. The class is able to converse about certain topics in Japanese now. Very interesting class to teach in many ways.

For weekly tutorials, I have two students who are busy professionals. Both are studying with the books which are to prepare for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, N5 as  part of the lessons. Also, one is studying with Japanese for Busy People, Bk 2 and finished its Workbook, up to the end of Lesson 4, Unit 2. The other student has finished Genki Bk 1 and its Workbook, up to Unit 10.

My corporate training course in its office in Surrey Hills has been studying with Training Material (Japanese) of SLS and they have finished it about half of the textbook with a variety of oral exercises and some handouts for vocab. grammar, script and culture related teaching or references.

As for news and cultural news on Japan, I informed many news in the lessons/classes. They include the following. (They include news reported on NHK TV or Australian newspapers in Feb.. I did not include the information in my last Blog, so I list them here.)

  • Marie Kondo’s highly-known KonMari Method and her books have been extremely influencing the world around. Her initial book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying  became in The New York Times bestseller list for over a year (having published in over 21 countries and it has sold 4.8 million copies around the world (“Tiny Mind”, by R. L. Parry, The Weekend Australian Magazine, 16~17.1.16. Similarly, “Discover the joy of tidying up”, by D. Ongaro, Daily Telegraph, 15.2.16, report details about her and the Method as well.)

The above mentioned article in The Weekend Australian Magazine says: because of practicing KonMari Method and tidying up homes and other environment, some people lost weight, finally left dead-end jobs, finally got married or divorced etc etc. The positive impact for wellbeing of people and work/living environment must be immeasurable. Same for economic and environmental benefits out of such practice and improvement of life-style, relationships and management of work and any resources and energy, in my view.

Japan succeeded in finding “rea-metaru” (minerals that can be used for batteries of mobile phones and hybrid cars) by its non-man sited submarine, in deep down in the sea of Japanese coastal region, about 5,500 meter deep, for the 1st time. It would become one of the new economic source for the future industry. (NHK TV, shown on SBS TV on 10.2.16)

Japan started running Shinkansen between Shin-aomori and Shin-hakodate, so the bullet train can run from Tokyo to the south of Hokkaido (northern island) and it goes through the tunnel between the main island and Hokkaido (going through the tunnel takes 25 minutes).  –  Omedetoo gozaimasu! (Many congratulations!)

Early this month (April) as every year, every cities or major companies in Japan hold ceremonies being enrolled for schools and universities and being employed newly at companies, in formal and honorable ways. This year, for the 1st time in Japanese history, the Chancellor of Tokyo-koogyoo-daigaku (Tokyo Institute of Technology) spoke his formal speech to the newly enrolled students in English rather than Japanese. That was very new. In the message, he encouraged students to seek their future not only toward Japan but the world and international regions.

In my view, English skills development is surely important for many aspects, but also sustaining the education of Japanese language, its good features including polite language, humble language etc and teaching other arts/quality of humanities related disciplines will be important as well. That was stressed by the Chancellor of Kyoto University late last year in one of Japanese major newspapers. That is in order to keep developing Japanese strength. The above Chancellor referred to Japan’s having had 2 scholars who were given the Nobel Prize last year as the example. I agree to the Chancellor in many ways. The well-known features of Japanese people/society’s being civilized, harmonious, peaceful, cooperative, patient, caring and careful, very highly educated, well disciplined, efficient, clean, high standard in developing and practicing hygine and safety, great practice and system of assimilation of information etc could never be realized without its past education and appreciation of valuable heritage.

Japanese teacher, Toshiko Jackson



Awesome Book for Beginners

Japanese First Course

I once watched a documentary about the Japanese culture and immediately become fascinated with the portrayal. A visit to Tokyo was a must during my vacation time. So I thought why not master a few words and phrases before I got there. Most Japanese books I came across in the recent past were very complex with voluminous material. By the time you are halfway through, you tend to get bogged down in the literature and text.

This book’s layout is quite friendly and gives the user a fresh approach to learning. Japanese is essentially a script based language.  The author focuses on the three basic scripts in the Japanese language: KATAKANA, HIRIGANA and KANJI.

The author simplifies the symbolic alphabets with explanations on phonetic scripts that could have been borrowed from other languages. As a learner I could identify and distinguish special characters in a syllable chart. There are some exercises that will help you gauge your progress in the course as you progress.   The accompanying CDs aid in pronunciation, vowel and consonant combination and meanings. Dialogue samples are also included as well as simulations of real life situations. The book is definitely a good guide for beginners.


A systematic approach to the Speaking test for Nursing

One of the questions that students often ask is: “How do I prepare for the Speaking test?” The OET Centre doesn’t provide a definitive list of vocabulary for candidates to learn, but the following systematic approach to your preparation will help you to successfully complete any role-play you are given:

  1. Research different medical conditions, using the list below as a starting point:
  • Asthma
  • Chicken Pox
  • High Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Eczema
  • Epilepsy
  • Head Lice
  • Infection
  • Myocardial Infarction
  • Poor nutrition
  1. Write out dialogues of a medical interview between a nurse and patient using each of these medical conditions. In the dialogues, make sure you:
  • Explain the condition simply and clearly, using layman’s language
  • Reassure the patient, who is anxious about the condition
  • Persuade the patient to follow the specific treatment for that condition

In any role-play, you will be tested on at least two (and often all three) of these speaking skills.

  1. Practice acting out these role-plays with your teacher or a friend, and record your voice. You can use either the recording app on your mobile phone, or free recording software such as Audacity (
  2. Once you are confident that you are able to speak clearly and without hesitation, act out the role-plays without written dialogue support.
  3. Continue to do this with different medical conditions, but without writing out a dialogue.

With dedication and regular use, this approach will help you to improve your score no matter what role-play you are tested on.

Good luck!

– Anna Brzeska, OET Teacher

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April 2016
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